According to the Maryland Farm Bureau, their members support Senate Bill 748, the Crop Damage Permit Bill (SB 748), because it allows farmers to better harvest the deer damaging their crops by allowing venison to be processed and sold commercially in Maryland. SB 748 was introduced by Sens. Thomas Middleton of Charles County, James Mathias, Jr. of the Eastern Shore, and Karen Montgomery of Montgomery County.
Currently, crop damage permits to kill deer outside of the regular hunting season are issued after an official from the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service confirms that the animals have caused a certain amount of damage to a farmer’s crops.
SB 748 further authorizes farmers to process and market wild venison acquired through hunting with a crop damage permit. The Bill provides that the requirements for the processing, inspecting, labeling, and selling of venison must be established by regulation before October 1, 2016. Interestingly, SB 748 classifies deer killed via a crop damage permit as livestock under the Maryland Wholesome Meat Act (Maryland Code, Agriculture Article, Section 3-301, et seq.).Read More